To: Congressional Republicans
Fr: Democratic Leader’s Press Office
Dt: July 28, 2011
Re: What Would Ronald Reagan Do?

As you decide how to vote on your leadership’s partisan, unbalanced scheme that wastes precious time as the clock ticks down to a default, we hope you’re asking yourself: What Would Ronald Reagan Do?

What Would Ronald Reagan Do?

President Ronald Reagan himself explained:

The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result…

And Rudy Penner, the CBO director during Reagan administration (1983-1987) said this week:

Congressional Budget Office Director Rudy Penner said he’d much prefer a debt ceiling increase through the 2012 elections “just to delay the type of uncertainty that would be created by a repeat of this debate.”

And as an editorial in USA Today explains, your actions aren’t consistent with President Reagan any more:

As Washington continues wrangling over plans to raise the federal debt limit and cut long-term deficits, a fair question for Republicans to ask is: What would Ronald Reagan do?

The answer, based on a fair-minded reading of Reagan’s record as president, is this: He would raise the debt ceiling. He would agree to tax increases as part of a balanced package to rein in deficits. And all this would be accomplished by compromising with the Democrats after tough but civil negotiations…

…it does suggest how far today’s conservatives have strayed from the Reagan model, even as they claim to revere Reagan the man…

It’s worth recalling that by September of 1987, Reagan had already fought for and won 17 debt ceiling increases during his presidency…

Advocating an 18th increase to get him through the rest of his presidency, Reagan warned bluntly against brinksmanship that “threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits.”…

Sound familiar?…

And what about the “grand bargain” on the deficit that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner were trying to negotiate? The Reagan who led this nation, as opposed to the one of myth many acolytes have created, would have seen a debt reduction plan in the range of $4 trillion over 10 years, accomplished mostly by spending cuts, as a huge win. He would have signed it in a New York minute.

So ask yourself W.W.R.R.D?, listen to President Reagan—and the American people—and work with Democrats to reach a balanced, bipartisan solution to reduce our deficit, create jobs, grow our economy, expand our middle class, and protect Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid beneficiaries. Do it for the Gipper!

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